A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Welcome Weeds

The two mystery plants are back, bigger and better than last year. I'm carefully watching for buds. So far the foliage hasn't looked familiar. Flowers should help with identification. Can you tell I am having one of those "Did I Plant That?" situations? As noted in a , previous post I often have trouble distinguishing between seedlings from seeds I have planted and seedlings from weeds. I let them grow until I can make a determination. Sometimes, even though they are weeds, I keep them because they are pretty.

The very first mystery plant that appeared in a flower bed turned out to be a beautiful flower. It is a biennial. Every year, I either have foliage or flowers. It has been reseeding itself for almost a decade now. It is yellow and coincidentally located in the yellow/orange garden so I have not moved it. It was only a week ago, by accident that I finally positively identified it as a Moth Mullein.

I have been invaded by the other, more common type of mullein. Also a biennial, the first year, I was intrigued by the huge, furry leaves and so left it. The second year, I was awed by the flower stalk that grew and grew just like the beanstalk in Jack and the Beanstalk. By the time it flowered, it was over 5' tall. The trouble being that it is prolific and I have been yanking it out ever since.

I have the best luck with mystery flowers locating themselves in the correct gardens. My next one was a lovely purple flower that appeared in the purple garden. It was a beautiful addition and I hoped it would reseed itself successfully. Imagine my surprise when I saw it in a seed catalog. It is a Great Lobelia.

I have a still unidentified weed growing under my lilac bush. It gets larger every year and has been reseeding itself which is fine with me because it is colonizing a spot that I have had trouble getting any else to grow in. It looks and acts like some kind of aster.

The two newest mystery plants are growing in a bed where I have experimentally planted quite a few kinds of seeds which never germinated. I am hoping for another "Dame's Rocket". In the purple garden last year, the most gorgeous purple flowers appeared seemingly out of nowhere. When I checked what I had planted in that vicinity the year before, I came across the Dame's Rocket. That year had been one of the last very dry years when I had had trouble with seed germination. Last year, quite a few seeds that had been planted in prior years but never germinated, decided to germinate. I had some very pleasant surprises.

I am hoping for two more pleasant surprises. Or, at the very least, two more Welcome Weeds.


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